Mind maps

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Did you know that mind maps (often called a spider diagram) date back to the 3rd Century?

Early thinkers and philosophers used graphic designs to diagram various concepts, words and ideas that related to a central thought.

Mind maps are a visual method for recording thoughts and related ideas graphically. It works by using one central keyword or idea and surrounding it with a shower of thoughts that somehow relate to that central word.

Tony Buzan

In 1974, Tony Buzan, a popular psychology author, hosted a series on the BBC called “Use your Head” he introduced the term “mind map” as a of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colourful, radiant, tree-like structure.

Tony argued that while “traditional” outlines force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion.

Using the then popular left brain/right brain assumption (which has now been discredited) to to explain the claimed increased effectiveness of mind mapping over other forms of note making. 

Tony dedicated his life to mind maps and passed away in April 2019 at the age of 76.

Mind mapping on paper

Ever since Tony Buzan introduced it to the world on Use Your Head, people have been using mind mapping on paper.

You can do this easily:

  1. Start with a large sheet of paper.
  2. Draw a colourful memorable central image of the topic you will be mapping in the middle of the page. Or you could draw a circle or cloud with the words inside it.
  3. Draw at least 4 thick organic looking branches from the centre outwards in different colours.
  4. Write headings or topics on these branches.
  5. Draw additional branches that extend from those branches and write the sub topics on them.
  6. Keep expanding out with more branches to add sub-sub topics.
  7. Draw or add artwork to your branches to make them more memorable.

Mapping software

iMindMap was created by Chris Griffiths of OpenGenius, a Welsh software company that enabled anyone with a computer to create their own Mind Maps. Later he was co-author of Mind Maps for Business with Tony Buzan. iMindMap has evolved into Ayoa.

Other Software

digitalprojectmanager.com has a top 10 of the best mind mapping software of 2020.

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